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Old computer, poor college student, need upgrade and oc advice =)

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January 19, 2012 8:44:16 AM

:hello:  Hello THF, I look around several forums and websites, and you guys seem to know best :sol:  so I want to ask for your advices. Basically I want to know the best upgrade and overclock I can get on lowest budget possible. Games not important, I need stable for content creation like photoshop + blender + video encoding + soundbooth since I study multimedia and graphics design.

My cool story - I find this old computer Compaq Presario on clearance for $100 like 2 years ago, I dont have much monies at all so its the best I can get at the time. Basically the important pieces are Athlon64 X2 (2 Ghz) and 1GB RAM (200 Mhz DDR2). Not bad I guess considering it was a complete system with dvd burner and integrated video, audio, networking, keyboard and mouse so it was functional and great price. I add another stick of RAM very cheap and it allows me to do my work.

So, a few months ago the PSU died, and took the motherboard along with it. I needed an emergency good cheap replacement/upgrade so I get Gigabyte MA-785GM-US2H and 400W PSU. Its a good price and allows me to keep all the other existing CPU and RAM and now I have AM2+/AM3 socket so now I have upgrade options.

First upgrade I made was some 4GB Kingston PC8500 (I work part time at Fry's so I buy all my stuff there with my discount which really helps since I don't have a credit card for online shopping).... Although I think my system is not configured correctly since my memory is only 800 Mhz not 1066 ....

SO anyway I need to ditch this ancient CPU and find something that is cheap and overclock it as much as possible. (did I mention i'm broke) ... I've read the forums and tried to find a good consensus but I'm having a hard time deciding because every dollar really counts alot. So I want to put the question to all the techies here and ask - what would you do in this situation? Ditching the system and starting over is not an option. I only have like $100/month budget (maybe $150) to bring my computer into the modern age. Video games are the last priority although it would be nice to play something newer than 10 years old :lol:  Mostly I need to do my digital content creations as my top priority.

Should I get the Phenom 1100T ??? Or is there a cheaper alternative? I really think I'll need 6 cores.... Or not.... Is 4 cores good enough? I heard that it's possible to unlock hidden cores on a 960T ??? is it worth the gamble? Which processor gives the best overclock for the buck? Is stock cooling good enough or will I need a new HS/F? Arctic Silver is a necessity or can I use this Cooler Master paste that I have now? (I don't want to spend even $5 if I dont have to)... also will I need a new PSU? My CPU is currently using 25W and I see that these new CPU's use up to 125W :ouch: 

SO as you can see, lots of questions and very little money to work with :sweat:  HELP ME THF !!!! :love: 

Best solution

a b K Overclocking
January 19, 2012 9:09:24 AM

best option (bang for the buck according to your usage) in my opinion is a 960t cpu and a 430 card and unlock the 960 and no need to overclock any thing, you will see a huge difference in performance, and no need to invest more
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January 19, 2012 9:19:10 AM

Oh, and some other random questions while I'm here. Not entirely related but I don't want to make a whole new thread.

Upgrade to Windows 7 64-bit or should I wait for Windows 8 ??? It's gonna take me several months to save up the money anyway and I heard that W8 will be out around October? I think I want to wait and save up for Windows 8 Ultimate but I would be interested in hearing your opinions.

I was reading the features comparison and it looks like 7U has XP emulation? does it work properly or is there still compatibility issues? I'm gonna need 64-bit because this 3 GB limit is crap. I've heard that XP64 and V64 are garbage though...

I'm gonna try to save up like $1000 cash and see if my credit union will give me a credit card so I can get a nice new workstation at the end of the year as a christmas present to myself ... so while I am trying to upgrade this computer I want to start planning ahead on my next system .... would be great to hear you guys advice on that as well. :sol: 
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January 19, 2012 9:22:34 AM

truegenius said:
best option (bang for the buck according to your usage) in my opinion is a 960t cpu and a 430 card and unlock the 960 and no need to overclock any thing, you will see a huge difference in performance, and no need to invest more



Thank you for the advice :sol: 

What is a 430 card? Is it some GPU? I don't know much about those... :whistle: 

Will I need a new PSU for all this? I have 400W right now...

Thanks again :D 
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a b K Overclocking
January 19, 2012 10:10:15 AM

waiting for w8 is a better option when on a low budget, there is no xp emulation in w7, i have w7 and it have compatibility settings of old window just like in xp.
Instead of using compatibility settings, you can use virtual machiene like sun xvm virtual box, or can set duel boot config

430 graphics card, and no need to buy a new psu
www.nvidia.com/object/product-geforce-gt-430-us.html
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January 19, 2012 10:56:55 AM

truegenius said:
waiting for w8 is a better option when on a low budget, there is no xp emulation in w7, i have w7 and it have compatibility settings of old window just like in xp.
Instead of using compatibility settings, you can use virtual machiene like sun xvm virtual box, or can set duel boot config

430 graphics card, and no need to buy a new psu
www.nvidia.com/object/product-geforce-gt-430-us.html



Ahhh I see, that looks like a good GPU upgrade for a low price. Cool thanks! :sol: 
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January 19, 2012 11:22:21 AM

Please don't waste your money on a GT 430. Get an HD 6670 with GDDR5 - it's twice as powerful and will work with your PSU.
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a b K Overclocking
January 19, 2012 11:31:17 AM

yes 6670 is faster for gaming but have no use in video editing
as op have stated 'photoshop+ blender + video encoding+soundbooth since I study multimedia and graphics design.'
and thus cuda is a great choice
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January 19, 2012 11:35:55 AM

Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise users can download XP Mode and install it, and it allows programs that will not run in Vista/7 to run in "XP Mode" It works with Microsoft's Virtual PC, basically it installs a Virtual XP Machine and once a program is installed in XP Mode, it can then be ran in Win7 (without the XP Virtual Machine open)

There is a video here that explains it better than I can.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/help/videos...

And truegenius it's not built in, so unless you downloaded it of course you wouldn't have it.
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a b K Overclocking
January 19, 2012 12:21:49 PM

can i use something like this in w8 too (i mainly use proffesional or ultimate edition)
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January 19, 2012 12:45:21 PM

I just read in a forum about a beta version for Windows 8, so its looking possible for Windows 8 and XP mode.
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January 19, 2012 12:46:44 PM

Thanks for the great info guys :sol: 

Yes, in terms of GPU i only care if it offers application performance, not games. Of course I cannot afford professional workstation GPU but if there is any low-cost consumer GPU that can benefit my apps then I would be interested. The 430 he showed me looks interesting, is there any other GPU less than $100 that also has application acceleration?

Yes XP Mode is what I had read about before ... is it any use? Does it work better than VirtualBox? I probably won't ever need it, just a curiosity.

So back to my main question about the CPU ... do you guys agree with truegenius that I should just get a 960T and try to unlock extra cores and leave it at that? Or would I be better off getting a lower clocked X6 and try to overclock that?

Also I have to consider the offset cost of upgrading the cooling... If I save $50 on the CPU but then spend $50 extra on cooling, then its not a good decision unless I can overclock higher than the more expensive CPU. Is that right? :whistle: 
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January 19, 2012 1:02:54 PM

considering that motherboard has no VRM cooling? I'd say get a 960T and unlock.
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January 19, 2012 1:03:48 PM

truegenius said:
yes 6670 is faster for gaming but have no use in video editing
as op have stated 'photoshop+ blender + video encoding+soundbooth since I study multimedia and graphics design.'
and thus cuda is a great choice

FACEPALM. That's what I get for not reading OP's full post.
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January 19, 2012 1:51:38 PM

cliffro said:
considering that motherboard has no VRM cooling? I'd say get a 960T and unlock.



I see, I see ... very good point. I did some research and yes it looks best to stick with the 960T as it is only 95W and should run cooler, correct? Does unlocking cores cause the wattage or temperature to increase or put more wear on the VRM?

Thanks everyone for your responses, I really appreciate it :sol: 
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January 20, 2012 12:20:32 AM

enrico palazzio said:
I see, I see ... very good point. I did some research and yes it looks best to stick with the 960T as it is only 95W and should run cooler, correct? Does unlocking cores cause the wattage or temperature to increase or put more wear on the VRM?

Thanks everyone for your responses, I really appreciate it :sol: 


Yes and Yes, but all within reason and nothing to be alarmed by.
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January 20, 2012 5:36:11 AM

Best answer selected by enrico palazzio.
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January 20, 2012 5:39:00 AM

thast awesome i found the 960T and a good GT430 card for cheap at work and I can get a discount too. This is perfect. Thank you all so much :sol: 
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